HEATHROW has threatened unions that unless they accept brutal pay cuts, they will start enforcing job cuts!
The ultimatum delivered by the bosses proposes cutting the pay of thousands of workers. The airport plans to make pay cuts of 15% to 20%, affecting about half of the 4,700 staff in engineering, air-side operations and security.
Heathrow bosses said it has informed union officials and that it was triggering a 45-day consultation period about the proposals, which involve ‘voluntary severance schemes’ as well as ‘pay and recruitment freezes’ and ‘salary reductions for management’.
The Unite union reacted with ‘deep concern’ after the news broke that Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) is to begin the formal process of firing and rehiring workers on vastly inferior pay and conditions.
Unite said: ‘Reports suggest that the company has issued a formal section 188 notice to begin a consultation process which would result in workers being fired and rehired on inferior contracts.
‘The action of Heathrow airport follows negotiations between HAL and Unite last month on the company’s proposals to cut pay by 24 per cent for some workers, slash allowances, impose inferior conditions and to also close the company pension scheme.’
Unite is currently formally putting the proposals to the workforce in a consultative ballot.
Unite regional co-ordinating officer Wayne King said that Heathrow’s actions are ‘extremely unhelpful and further undermine confidence in the industry.
‘Our members have worked tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. To conduct industrial relations via the media in such a brutish manner is designed to create fear and panic in a group of key workers.
‘HAL’s (Heathrow Airport London) actions have made already difficult negotiations even more fraught.
‘Unite is currently balloting its members on the proposals. HAL’s actions demonstrate that it is not prepared to allow democracy to run its course.
‘At a time when Unite is working hard to persuade the government to follow the lead of other European nations and provide specific financial support to the aviation sector to ensure that the industry and workers can survive the pandemic and thrive in the future, these actions are distinctly unhelpful.
‘Unite urges HAL to withdraw this ill-judged attack on its loyal workforce and to return to the negotiating table as had been previously agreed.’
‘Unite has urged HAL to withdraw,’ Dave Wiltshire, Secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance said, adding: ‘Unite is once again on its knees, pleading with the airport bosses and the government to safeguard jobs at a time when hundreds of thousands of jobs are being destroyed.
‘Unite members must immediately demand that their leaders quit and that a new leadership is elected, that new leaders are brought forward that will mobilise the huge strength of the union and urge other unions to join in a general strike that will bring down this Tory government and bring in a workers’ government that will nationalise the air industry and put it under workers’ management that will defend every job. This is the only way forward.’